The second semester brought me to the first day of a new course, as in, brand new senior level elective. I’ve thought about this course a ton, planned some and am hoping it goes off well. The first activity I put in front of the students was an adaptation of World of 100. An activity that asks students to conjure global statistics as they exist in the student’s mind. Essentially, they guess a series of demographic categories and then compare with the correct answers.
The link above details the steps I undertook in the activity. But, I want to use the space here to reflect a little on why I do activities like this, a pre-test, if you will. (In American History I start with the US Citizenship test)
The reason I *torture* the students with this type of activity isn’t so much to bring to light their lack of knowledge, but rather to get them to evaluate how they perceive the world they inhabit. These activities do humble the kids (a bit), but also serve as a motivation for them to assess their own view of the world and figure out why it is their version of the world does not jive with reality. One of my favorite classroom moments, was when they immediately wanted to know where the numbers came from, sources, links, etc. They wanted to verify and validate. (yay, them!)
Some reactions from the students were:
Filling out the sheet was strange because it forced me to think outside of my environment and what I deem normal.
I, all of a sudden, felt like I knew very little about the world. I thought that I would have been able to do ok with this since I have gotten to travel quite a bit around the country and out. Obviously though I still know very little about the world.
When I was filling it out I kept wanting to fill it out for just America and I had to keep reminding myself that it was supposed to fill it out for the whole world.
I felt confused. I never thought about the world in numbers like that before. It’s hard for me to look at the world at such a large point of view.
Filling out the world of 100 worksheet gave me a different perspective on a lot of things. I couldn’t remember a time when I had ever thought about the world in that way.
At the end of last semester’s class, the goal was for the students to know the function and interplay of the major governmental branches (at all levels) and to understand how those branches and functions and interplay, impact them personally. For the Globalization course, the goal is to have students evaluate world issues from a perspective outside their own, be able to converse about the similarities and differences that exist in different regions of the world and ultimately engage in a more holistic, global conversation about the pressing issues of the day.
At least that is the goal, we are off to a good start.